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Pharmacist taking notes

Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice

This qualification is for experienced, registered allied health professionals, nurses and pharmacists who are employed in trainee advanced clinical practice roles, and will prepare you for an advanced clinical practice role. You’ll secure sound and critical understanding of required clinical and professional attributes, as well as learning the advanced health assessment skills and clinical knowledge needed to work as an autonomous advanced clinical practitioner in a variety of clinical settings across primary and secondary care. 

Key features of the course

  • Allows you to choose two from three modules, covering non-medical prescribing, clinical foundations of advanced clinical practice and professional enquiry.
  • Develops your knowledge of clinical reasoning and decision-making in complex situations.
  • Helps you understand your role as a leader in unfamiliar, complex and unpredictable clinical settings.
  • Learn to evaluate your own practice through reflection and ongoing professional development.
  • Discover an appreciation of the importance of research and evidence based practice in delivering high quality care.


Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
2-4 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Course cost
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


To gain this qualification, you will study 120 credits from the following modules:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing (K803)  

This module enables you to gain the knowledge and skills required for safe, appropriate and effective prescribing practice and become an Independent/Supplementary Prescriber.

See full description

60 22 Feb 2020
Clinical foundations of advanced clinical practice (K804) planned for Aug 2020
60 Aug 2020

Alternatively, you can study 120 credits from the following modules:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
Clinical foundations of advanced clinical practice (K804) planned for Aug 2020
60 Aug 2020
Professional inquiry in advanced clinical practice (K805)  planned for Aug 2021
60 Aug 2021

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 20th March 2019.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study.

Credit transfer is not available against the Professional Inquiry in Advanced Clinical Practice (K805) module.

You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website

On completion

On successful completion of the required module you can be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Clinical Practice entitling you to use the letters PG Dip ACP (Open) after your name.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Entry requirements

You will need to:
  • hold a minimum of a second-class honours degree in the cognitive field of health or be able to demonstrate equivalent academic ability through experiential learning.
  • be registered with a statutory health care and/or social care regulator with proof of current registration.
  • have a minimum of two years post-qualification experience.
  • be employed and have the support of your employer to undertake this qualification. If you’re a self-employed practitioner, assurances of support, appropriate learning opportunities, governance and safety measures will be discussed with the qualification lead.
  • have evidence of identification of a designated GMC registered medical practitioner or ANP/ACP with evidence of a qualification at Level 7, to support learning in clinical practice. You’ll require a designated registered medical practitioner or practice assessor to undertake Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing (K803)

You do not need to complete Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing (K803) in order to complete this Postgraduate Diploma.

However, if you choose to study Non-medical independent and supplementary prescribing (K803) there are additional entry requirements for this module and you should look at the module description entry checks to decide if the module is suitable for you.

You will need to complete an application form. If you are a Pharmacist registered with the GPhC, or an Allied Health Professional registered with the HCPC, the application form and further guidance can obtained by contacting the faculty at

How long it takes

It's expected that most students will complete the qualification in the minimum time of two years by studying 60 credits a year, but there is flexibility to take up to four years to complete.

Career relevance

You’ll be employed as a health professional when you start the course and have approval from your designated employer to undertake the qualification. Once qualified, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to work as an advanced clinical practitioner in a wide variety of clinical settings across primary and secondary care and other health and social care providers.